the belzhar

I wanted to read Meg Wolitzer’s Belzhar (IndieBound) the second it came out, even though I only felt so-so about the other book of hers I had read, The Uncoupling (IB). But even though I was super excited, I only finally got around to picking it up at work this week when a colleague returned it and I remembered that I had been dying to read it. I am mostly really glad I did, especially because my curiosity about the book was only increased when I saw how divisive reviews seem to be. Everyone is either amazed by the book or angered by it, it seems. I had to know why. Now I’ve read the book, and I can’t say that I get why everyone who didn’t like it is so angry, but that’s reading for you – we all react differently. (I will employ the slightest of spoilers in this post, because I don’t really care about spoilers, as they don’t tend to spoil things for me.) Continue reading


the internet is a terrible place

I Googled myself today because lately I have been getting emails meant for a Hannah Gómez in Texas (are you there? If so, I kind of hate you and really want you to learn your email address and stress it to others so that I stop getting your ridiculous memberships to stupid websites and newsletters for culinary academies). Then I got distracted by Google’s “related searches,” where I could clearly see which searches were for me and which were for a third name-doppelganger (there must be a word for a person who shares your name, and I’m willing to bet it’s German), so I started clicking around. And then I forgot to NaNo and I forgot to take my vertigo pills, so the world kept spinning slightly, and I forgot to eat. Continue reading

books that validated my teenhood

Someday I’ll finish that fashion series I was doing. This month, for NaNoWriMo, I thought I’d go back to talking a lot about books, since ostensibly that’s what this blog is about. Also, writing. I really, really want to make NaNo work, so I might even write about what I’m writing. It’s not the big novel I’ve been working on for a hundred years that I’ve been doing research for. It’s a different one, and I think given its subject matter and style, it will be easier to write as I’m still in the semester and knee-deep in YA books. Or at least I thought that when I started this post. Now it’s 14 days into NaNo and I haven’t even done one day’s worth of writing. More on that later. First, my top four books about being a young adult, two of which were even published as YA.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. First, I’m sorry if you only knew about the book once the movie came out because it’s been around FOREVER and is amazing, and also the real cover is better but Amazon didn’t have it up anymore. Everyone thinks that The Catcher in the Rye is the seminal teen angst novel, but that’s only true if you’re from that era and sleep in piles of money. This book is actually a teen angst novel, and it’s genius. It’s one of those books, I think, that has all the people you wish you met in high school but actually didn’t meet until college. And it lets you know it’s okay to be weird, even if in fact you’re not as weird or as cool as Charlie, Patrick, or Sam. (I should say that the movie is actually completely fabulous and well done, even though Hermione Emma Watson was miscast and couldn’t keep a consistent American accent. It’s written and directed by the book’s author, and it felt nearly perfect.) Continue reading